Some people can not just be happy with themselves. They find ways to berate themselves for something, even if it's beyond their control: if they have straight hair, they wish it was curly; if they have curly hair, they want it straight. They think they are too short or tall or thin or fat or fair or dark. They're always comparing themselves to others and consequently believing they fall short of some ideal. In my case (as you may know if you follow this blog), I keep thinking I don't read fast enough.
Here are the to-be-read books I keep on the bookcase in my living room:
It has not shrunk at all in the last six months. Indeed, it has only gotten taller.
Here are some more to-be-read books and a few in-progress books I keep on the nightstand:
And those stacks don't include books I've ordered, like the new Connie Willis book coming out in February, or the Robert Redick book (the sequel to The Red Wolf Conspiracy! Yay!!) that hasn't arrived yet and I'm starting to wonder why; nor do they include the numerous sequels to the books currently in those to-be-read stacks; nor do they include the copy of House of Leaves that I have checked out from the library for the second time and I'm trying to finish before it's due back tomorrow, but I don't think I'm going to make it. Again.
There is no particular order to the books I want to read. I'm thinking, though, that as soon as I finish The Wheel of Time I'll have to read Ken Scholes' Canticle, because I rather enjoyed Lamentation and I'm eager to learn about the further adventures of those characters. Especially since I got a bit of a preview last week when I went to a signing for Scholes and Kate Elliott.
Scholes read a selection from Elliott's book, and Elliott read from Scholes' book. It was quite nice to see them appreciating each other's work.
The signing was more lightly attended than others I've been to at that venue. Those individuals I've come to think of as The Regulars were there, plus a few others I'd never seen before, but we didn't even fill up all the chairs, and the Q&A was a little on the short side, alas. I say alas because I think these authors deserve wider audiences. Of course, I, like many people, am seldom satisfied with the way things are: when the audience is small, I wish for it to be larger. And when it is large, I wish for it to be smaller. Because the good side of a smaller crowd is that I didn't have to wait in line very long.
Highlights of the evening were:
1. When I went up to the counter and requested a copy of Canticle, the store manager (or perhaps he's the owner) asked if I already had Lamentation. "Yes," I said, and he said, "Okay, you pass." I suppose I'm glad I passed his little test, but I wonder what would've happened if I'd said, "No." I sort of wanted to go buy another one so he'd ask me again, but he would've recognized me. Maybe next time, when the third book in the Psalms of Isaak series comes out, I'll bring a disguise. Or maybe next time I'll just say, "None of your flippin' business."
2. Ken Scholes (pronounced 'skoles') borrowed a handy guitar from somebody and sang us a lovely song about his wife giving birth to their twins.
3. Kate Elliott didn't have much to say, comparatively speaking. She explained her lack of volubility by saying that she was tired. Nevertheless, she did have some interesting observations to make about book covers. Authors usually have absolutely no control over what goes on a book cover. Artists don't always even read the entire book that they're doing the illustration for. I've noticed that sometimes the picture on a cover has very little to do with the actual story, and I think an artist does a disservice to an author when that happens. But I've heard that publishers will request anything on the cover that will get people to buy the book, regardless of how accurate the artwork may be in giving you insight into the contents.
4. Scholes made it clear that there are going to be five (5) and only five (5) books in the Psalms of Isaak series. Rumors have been flying, and someone asked him about them during the Q&A, that there would be seven (7), but this is altogether WRONG. He asked all the bloggers to go home and say that Ken Scholes himself said there were only five (5) books in the series. So there.
5. He also said he would like to write other books taking place in the same universe, but they will not be part of the current series.
6. I actually was fairly articulate and sensible when I spoke to both Scholes and Elliott. I think maybe it's a little bit true that things get easier as you repeat them. Of course, it also helps that I had prepared a little comment beforehand so that I wouldn't be blankminded at the moment of encounter. And it helps even more that Ken Scholes is such a good writer that it was easy to come up with a little comment beforehand. And, although my compliment was prepared, it was also entirely sincere (I told him I was awed by his writing), so I don't feel any comparison can be drawn with my behavior and that of Mr Collins.
Scholes said he appreciated my remark because he was a little amazed by what people were telling him about his writing; he just didn't see it. So I said, "But don't you, when you've finished writing a book, sit back and say 'Okay, I can live with that'?" And he said, "No, not until I was done with the third book. When I finished that, I finally had the feeling that it was good." That kind of surprised me and made me think that Ken Scholes is a rather humble sort of writer.
So that is why I want to read Canticle next. Except that I also want to read Leviathan next, and The Affinity Bridge. And I'd like to finish House of Leaves before it leaves the house tomorrow morning. I just have to learn to read faster.